As far as big cities go, the air quality in Montreal on Sunday was among the worst in the world, according to a website that tracks the worldwide air quality index (AQI).
In IQAir Ranking Among the major cities most affected by pollution, Montreal took the number one spot on Sunday morning with an AQI of 230, followed by Kuwait City (221) and Tehran, Iran (169). Montreal’s rating jumped to 243 on the Switzerland-based company’s website.
Smog is a product of wildfires in northern Quebec, 80 of which are currently burning, Winds turned to the northeast on Monday evening, bringing smoke to parts of southern Quebec.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) says the air quality in the metropolis is at “high risk” and cautions people to reduce their exposure as much as possible.
The ECCC smog warning reads, “People who have lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, the elderly, children, pregnant women and people who work outdoors are more likely to feel the effects of smoke on their health. “
Smog warnings were also issued for several other parts of Quebec, including Laval, Longueuil, Trois-Rivières and Quebec City.
The weather agency recommends keeping windows closed to maintain indoor air quality.
The sky in Montreal is thick with smoke on June 25, 2023 due to wildfires in northern Quebec. (CTV News/Olivia O’Malley)
Montreal closed outdoor sports facilities
According to a tweet issued at 4:17 p.m. Sunday, the city of Montreal canceled all outdoor cultural activities and ordered all outdoor sports facilities, including pools and wading pools, to be closed as of Monday afternoon.
The city also said in a news release, “Please stay indoors where possible.” The officials will re-assess the situation on Monday.
Sidonie Penicaud, a physician for environmental and occupational health at Montreal Public Health, said the air quality in Montreal on Sunday was “quite extreme.”
Common symptoms can include itchy eyes, sore throat and cough, he said. More sensitive people may experience more serious effects such as difficulty breathing.
Medical and cloth masks don’t work well enough to filter out pollutants on hazy days, he said, “because they’re very, very fine.”
“Masks that work may be N95 but you still want the mask to have a very good seal on your face. Just buying a random mask, you may not get as good a seal. In fact, the The thing is to avoid going out,” Penicaud said in an interview.
“If you were planning on going for a run or going on outdoor activities all day, put it off for another day because by working out… you breathe more, you breathe in more air faster, So there is more pollution that goes into your lungs faster.”
The Montreal skyline is covered in a haze of haze on Sunday, June 25, 2023, as haze warnings are in effect in Montreal and several areas of the province due to wildfires. The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes
He said it would be ideal for people to keep their windows closed at home, but he realizes the heat could make this a challenge for some. Vulnerable people should move to indoor spaces with air conditioning, if possible.
More information on protecting yourself from smog is available here Montreal Public Health website,
‘It burns the throat’: how Montrealers are coping
Some people who decided to go outside on Sunday chose to wear face masks, including Dominique Holtapples, who used an N95 mask to help deal with the bad air.
Deb Langelier said she is wearing a face mask for the first time in a long time.
“It’s affecting us in the sense that we probably won’t be able to go up to Mount Royal or Royal because of the air quality,” he said. “We feel bad for the people who are actually in the fire areas, you know. It’s just an inconvenience.”
Others were as surprised as they were concerned to see how poor the air quality was in the city.
Joel Abramowitz said, “It’s really sad and disturbing and it’s a sign that we should all be paying attention to the energy we’re using and the resources we’re spending and the extent of climate change.” Try to limit it.”
“It just burns the nose, burns the throat,” said NDG resident Simon Benoit.
Milenko Petrovic and his son Milan often run to Summit Lookout in Westmount, but they decided to stop their practice on Sunday and drive there instead.
“We’ve never seen this before, especially not here, we’ve been racing here quite often but not today,” Milenko said.
His son said, “It is very difficult to breathe.”
Fog forced the cancellation of half of Sunday’s Ironman race in Mont-Tremblant.
When will air quality improve?
It rained heavily in Montreal on Saturday evening. By Sunday morning the rain stopped. There will be smoky skies in sunny skies throughout the day and the maximum temperature is expected to be around 30 degree Celsius.
Heavy smoke billowed from the province’s wildfires in Montreal on Sunday afternoon. The air quality remained very poor but improvement would be felt by Monday afternoon.
Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a special weather statement for Montreal and surrounding areas on Monday warning of possible thunderstorms.
Part of the special weather statement read, “20 to 40 mm of rain is expected locally on Monday, although the amount of rain locally may exceed 50 mm with thunderstorms.”
There is a possibility of rain throughout the week as well. The temperature should remain steady in the low to mid 20s.
With files from CTV News Montreal’s Lise McAulay and Olivia O’Malley